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Korea, China and Japan: Neighbours with differences – Religion

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There are about 200 countries in the world. All of these countries co-exist with their neighbouring countries. It is easily found that those neighbour countries have much similarity in terms of their culture, language and religion. For instance, even though neighbouring countries England, France and Germany might have different history and life style, historically, most people believe in the same God and all use the same letters, the alphabet. In addition, they also use forks and knives.

The three East Asian countries: Korea, China and Japan on the other hand, are a group of neighbours that is rather different from other neighbouring countries in particular from the perspective of religion.

In China, there are the hundreds of religions. One of the religions, Confucianism has become an underlying social and ethical philosophy but it was not a religion being practiced. In fact, more people have turned to Taoism, meditating for happier lives and tranquillity. After communism overtook throughout China, the Cultural Revolution greatly destroyed Confucian traditions.

In Japan, when Buddhism was first introduced, practitioners of Shinto, the native religion of Japan, were anything but pleased. However, Prince Shotoku (574-622 A.D.) contributed to settling Buddhism down in Japan. He proclaimed freedom of religion and built a grand temple. Not only he pursued developing Buddhism But also tried to harmonise Buddhism with other exiting religions. Therefore Confucianism, Shintoism and Buddhism co-existed with each other in Japan.

In Korea, the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) kings revered Confucianism adopting it as the country’s official religion. But they suppressed Buddhism. Hence, Korea became the most Confucianism centred country in the world at that time.  In 1945, Christianity spread after Korea’s liberation from Japan. Surpassing Buddhism, Christianity has become the No. 1 religion in Korea with approximately 35% of the population professing to be Christians, which is fairly unusual in Asia. Currently there are tens of thousands of churches nationwide. The religious manifestations in Korea are entirely different from those in Japan and China.

Cooking Fever in Korea 한국에서의 요리 열풍

Entertainment program related with cooking are currently popular in Korea. ‘한식대첩(Korean food competition)’ and ‘마스터쉐프코리아’ (Master Chef Korea)’ arose popularity and many issues. Especially, ‘냉장고를 부탁해’ on JTBC has been winning the popularity. ‘냉장고를 부탁해 (Ask you my fridge)’ is a kind of variety show where chefs compete to make a special dish in 15 minutes only with the ingredients taken from the guest’s fridge. Korean chefs who feature in this show include 홍석천(Seokcheon Hong), 최현석(Hyeonseok Choi), 샘 김(Sam Kim), 김 풍(Pung Kim) with one Bulgarian chef, 미카엘 아쉬미노프, who has lived in Korea for over 12 years and runs his own restaurant in Seoul.

The chefs try to make a delicious and looking-good dish only for the guest after they listen to what kind of food the guest prefers and the guest’s personal life style as well. The guest – the owner of the fridge has to decide which dish is the most delicious. Despite the pressure the chefs would feel throughout making the special dish in just 15 minutes, the guests would feel impressed by the beautiful and extremely delicious food which was made only for them. This show has been portrayed to the audience not only as a show of competition but a show where it gives a big pleasure to them. We can catch out some expressions related with cooking in the show. Almost expressions in recipe use the command verbs.

차가운 물에 씻어라. Rinse it in cold water.

양파를 얇게 잘라라. Slice onion thinly.

당근을 strip 모양으로 잘라라. Cut carrots into strips.

익을 때까지 볶아라. Stir fry it until they soften.

야채와 양념을 섞어라. Mix the vegetables and sauce.

설탕 1 스푼을 넣어라. Add 1 tsp of sugar.

중간 불에 15분 동안 익혀라. Cook it for 15 mins over medium heat.

씻다(to rinse) à 씻어라 볶다(to stir) à 볶아라
섞다(to mix) à 섞어라 넣다(to add/put)  à 넣어라
자르다(to cut/slice) à자르어라à 잘라라 익히다(to cook)   à 익히어라à 익혀라

As you seen from the examples, -어라/아라/해라 is an ending form of imperative sentence. Just try to catch out some expressions from the Korean cooking show or Korean food recipe.

(Sarah Yong, Korean Language Teacher)

Back to the 90s

Famous television entertainment program ‘Infinite challenge’- Muhan dojeon (무한도전)’ produced a 90s music concert in January 2015. The show had become sensational, which lead a new trend of entertainment programs in early 2015. Not only the episode of the show reached a high viewer rating, but also 90s music regained popularity.

The concert was filled with 90s K-pop singers such as SES, Turbo, Hyunjeong Kim, Chanhui So, who were particularly popular yet no longer appeared on TV programs as they were replaced by new younger singers. As time goes by, their fans seemed like that they had forgotten their favorite singers. However, it turns out they still remain as their loyal fans, remember all their popular songs and enjoy the concert. Even the TV viewers appreciated the 90s music and were eager to listen to more 90s hits.

Afterwards, in the main Korean music chart of January and February, the old 90s music dominated compared to new music created this year. The popularity of 90s music is expected to continue in 2015. KBS, MBC and SBS broadcasting stations have produced a number of programs focusing on 90s musicians and music. For instance, MBC ‘human documentary, Sarami jota’ on 24th January discussed one of the singers and the host from the 90s music concert in ‘Infinite challenge’. KBS morning program also went through the details of all of the singers from the concert.

However, this trend has attracted criticism that the 90s same stories are repeated by the same singers, that may easily become tedious. Moreover, the retro music trend may be neglecting to create new music. Nevertheless, most people consider this trend as a ‘fresh COMING BACK’. The elders can recall their precious memories of childhood and for the youngers, they can experience what the 90s music was like. Thus the current retro trend will continue to have a positive effect on the entertainment programs.

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January 2018
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